The importance of online customer reviews for your small business
Small business owners know that having a website to communicate their brand, products and services is key to bolstering their company’s marketing efforts. Online marketing and advertising is not a one-shot task. It takes time, effort and patience to build a loyal following online.
Unfortunately, many small business owners fail to realize the importance customer feedback has on their online presence. Customer feedback and reviews can make or break your reputation both online and offline and needs to be properly communicated and handled to remain competitive.
According to the latest research studies, 93% of consumers used the internet to find a local business in the last year and 87% of consumers read online reviews for local businesses in 2020. Think about it. How often do you research a product or service online before you decide to make a purchase?
In today’s digital world, small businesses must embrace reviews. This means asking customers to leave reviews, monitoring those reviews and taking the time to respond to customers. It also means that you need to share your best reviews on social media as well as use them effectively in your advertising.
Let’s examine why the importance of customer reviews for your small business cannot be overstated:
Online Reviews Helps You Get Found & Builds Your Credibility
With increasing internet accessibility via mobile devices, more and more people are researching goods and services before making any purchase decisions. Nearly all consumers (97%) now use online media when researching products or services in their local area.
Positive reviews tell prospective customers what you are doing right. That could be anything from the quality of the product or service you provide to how you handle customer service when customers contact your business with a problem.
Negative reviews can hurt a company’s reputation and turn away customers, but deleting negative reviews from your website can be a detriment to your business as well. Surprisingly enough, having negative reviews actually makes your business seem more legitimate to consumers and can build trust.
Reviews Provide You With Important Feedback
What do your customers love about your business and what do they think needs fixing? Paying attention to your online reviews helps you do more of the good and less of the bad.
Positive feedback also can inspire you to continue developing a particular aspect of your business, while follow-up reviews after the resolution of a negative review can increase your trustworthiness to potential customers.
To make the most of customer reviews for your business, make sure you stay up-to-date on any new reviews that come in and respond to them as quickly as possible.
Reviews Help You Get More Referrals
Once your business gets noticed from online reviews, people start talking more about your business, both online and offline. The more they talk about your products and services (especially positively), the more word-of-mouth marketing and referrals you can get for your business.
These days, review sites that talk about your business can be also monitored and tracked. Make sure your digital marketing professional talks to you about how these sites work and how they can be monitored to track your online reputation.
In conclusion, you shouldn’t ignore any reviews whether they’re positive or negative. Answering your customers’ feedback promptly and consistently translates into new customers. Remember that every review that remains unanswered is a lost opportunity to retain existing customers and attract new ones.